The Words of the Kovic Family
So now, if you thought that all that Unification Church members do is sell flowers at airports and gallivant through American suburbia on mobile fundraising teams you're very much mistaken. The Unification Church in America and throughout the world since the 1970's when Reverend Moon began to expand his movement became involved in a lot of things. But why did Reverend Moon create this seeming empire of so many businesses and organizations?
To put it simply, Sun Myung Moon created the Unification Church to build the Kingdom Of Heaven on Earth. To accomplish that he needed to bring unity to all the Christian denominations. The official name of the Unification Church is The Holy Spirit Association of the Unification Of World Christianity. It was shortened to Unification Church when his movement came to the west. Christ needs to build his kingdom on Earth. According to Sun Myung Moon, Jesus didn't accomplish his mission 2000 years ago. He failed and so the task has been relayed to him to accomplish in the 20th century. And just so that I'm totally up front and honest with where I'm coming from, this is a grievous error that Moon makes about Jesus. I don't believe that Jesus failed.
Jesus brought a great light to the Earth and to all people. Unfortunately he was not as well received at that time as he should have been but in no way did he ever fail in what he came to do. But that's as much as I'll talk about that for now.
Let me talk about one of the experiences that I had outside of fundraising in the Unification Church. It was called Ocean Challenge.
One day at the end of a thoroughly exhausting day of fundraising I was told by my team captain that the Commander wanted to see me. Commander Tatsuo Sato was a Japanese man in his early 40's and he was in charge of the Chicago MFT region back then. He told me that my fundraising days were over and that I was being sent to New York City to Master Marine where they were busy building the fishing boats being used by Ocean Challenge in Gloucester Massachusetts.
What is Ocean Challenge? Since the early 70's Reverend Moon has done a lot of fishing off the coast of Massachusetts. Perhaps you've heard of the fact that Reverend Moon makes so much money off of his members whom he enslaves to work for him on MFT that he owns a couple of yachts. That is a myth. But for several years he was fishing aboard his cabin cruiser. Nice boat but no where's near a yacht.
Reverend Moon spent a lot of time fishing for Blue Fin Tuna. He used to study the techniques that other fisherman in Gloucester used to catch the Blue Fin and then he developed his own system of hand lines that was really quite ingenious. One other thing he did was redesign the Boston Whaler fishing boat. He used a Boston Whaler while he was working on his tuna fishing system and years later he decided to go ahead and build his own fleet of boats called The Good Goes.
To back up a little, my second mission in the Unification Church was working for Master Marine, a ship building company started in Long Island City, New York on Long Island in 1980. They were 28 foot sport fishing boats made out of fiberglass. It had a central console in the middle and extra compartments for fishing gear and powered by an outboard engine. At top speed it could do about 30 knots. But that was pretty much what the Boston Whaler was. One of the major changes that Reverend Moon made was a deeper blade-like bow. What I'm talking about is the area underneath the bow of the boat that is not seen. On the Boston Whaler it was just a regular bow but on the Good Go it was designed more like a keel that would cut into the waves and allow the boat to cut more effectively through the oncoming waves.
When I arrived at Master Marine just days after my 21st birthday, I couldn't believe what I saw. Master Marine had signed onto its firm a team of crack engineers and carpenters to take Reverend Moon's designs and transform them into reality. Oh, by the way, off to the left here are the original carpenters and engineers who began working on the Good Go. Henry Masters, the original designer of the boat is on the left in the yellow golf shirt. And they are standing on the One Hope. This is Reverend Moon's Yacht...and no that's not a joke. See how you've been screwed around so much by the media?
Fiberglass boats are made from molds. But before that you need to make a plug from which you create the mold from. On the left you're looking at the plug for the deck and the plug for the hull. That's what the engineers designed and the carpenters created. First it had to be constructed out of wood and then fiberglassed over and made as smooth as a babies butt. Then many layers of fiberglass are rolled on to that smooth surface and when it is dry it is popped off of the plug and you have a mold from which you can make many boat hulls from. Well, it's actually a lot more technical than that but that's the gist of what's involved.
I started working in this fiberglass boat factory in the middle of July 1980. What they did was they took an old warehouse that used to be owned by Brach's Candy Company. You've eater Brach's hard candy haven't you? Well, the Unification Church bought that old building after Brach had moved out and relocated many years ago and began using it for other purposes including the new Master Marine Boat Firm.
Working in a fiberglass boat factory is hard work and it involves working with a lot of toxic chemicals. We worked with fiberglass, resins, gelcoat and acetone. Usually a factory like this has to comply with OSHA if they're using toxic chemicals. This was before all of that regulation became law. There was no ventilation. We were just young men and women given this task by the spiritual leader of our church to build as many boats as we could for Ocean Challenge before the 1980 season began and we were so excited about it. We didn't care that we lived, worked, slept and ate our meals in this factory where we build these fiberglass boats. But you can't do that these days. If you tried to do today what we dared to do back then we would have been shut down in a heartbeat. But that's what happens when you're young and you join a messianic religious organization like the Unification Church. When your spiritual leader gives you direction to accomplish something for God's Will then you just do it.
But again let me emphasize something. Not justify what the Unification Church does in any way but to emphasize this. The Unification always took very good care of its members. They were housed, clothed, fed, plane fares always paid for them wherever they were sent for a mission. That's how it was for me for over 20 years. Only in very remote circumstances were there ever any incidences in which Unification Church members really suffered and usually it was due to the oversight of either a particular member or his or her leader. The people who did the most harm to any Unification Church member that I am aware of were the deprogrammers who were hired by a members parents to kidnap their children and take them away from the Unification Church. Wealthy parents would pay good money to have their children tied up in a chair, starved and yelled and screamed at until they could take it no longer and finally relented and confessed that Reverend Moon had them brainwashed. They are the ones responsible for any violence and brainwashing done to these young people, not The Unification Church.
Well, on a lighter note. You see, I was 21 years old and this was all so very exciting to me. We worked hard on that plug because it had to absolutely perfect before we could make the first mold from it. One of the leaders of the Unification Church, actually a man who was answerable directly to Reverend Moon was a man named Takeru Kamiyama. He's from Japan and he in charge of the entire American MFT at that time. Like Reverend Moon he didn't speak hardly any English but that didn't diminish the honor and respect that was lauded upon him by members and leaders alike in the Unification Church. Reverend Moon assigned him to be personally in charge of Master Marine when it first got started.
So here was this guy, one of the top leaders in The Unification Church getting down and dirty with us as we were making these boats. But, you know, I have a lot of respect for Takeru. I mean, it's true that a few years later he would be indicted and convicted along with Reverend Moon for the charges of tax evasion in the quite widely publicized court case that took place in 1983. He committed perjury in court to protect Reverend Moon. And then he spent several months in Danbury prison with Reverend Moon. But even after all of that I still remember how he worked really hard along side the rest of us when we were working on that plug.
Takeru's got a home very close to Reverend Moon's estate in Irvington, NY. I went there a few times to do some work on his property. Then after working he'd invite us all into his home for a delicious dinner.
Over to the left here is a photo of the plug for the hull of the boat. You can see on the side facing the camera how it was also constructed of wood and then coated with fiberglass and gelcoat to make it smooth. So once we got the hull and the deck plugs perfect it was time to. This other photo is of the first hull mold that was popped off of the plug. Isn't it beautiful. Actually the hull mold came off of the plug pretty easy. That wasn't the case with the deck.
It seems that the deck is where we made some mistakes. To tell you the truth there were way too many people working on it with no clue at all of how to sand it. So, as a result there were some flaws that developed which caused some problems in getting it out of the plug. But eventually with some gentle persuasion and jumping up and down on the damn thing it finally came out.
Over to the left here is a photo of the hull mold just after we popped it out of the plug. You see, it was perfect. Now that's a mold you can make 150 hulls from.
So, now we had a deck mold and a hull mold to make all of the boats that we needed for Ocean Challenge. Over here to the left is a photo of the first Good Go. Although it's hard to see it with all these important people standing in front of it, there it is.
Well, our goal was to produce 150 boats in time for the blessing of the fleet on July 1st 1980. We probably churned out about 100. Once we started popping those decks and hulls out of their molds then there was the problem of where to put them all. There was this really big area next to the room where we had made the plugs so we rolled them into there. The thing is that we needed to get something resembling a production line. The problem was that this adjacent room was subdivided into smaller rooms. Then somebody had the idea of busting down these walls so that we could make one big room for our production line.
Bob Moran, one of the guys who really knew what was going on there is probably famous for coming up with the term, "Slammer Down". He and a couple of other guys were given these sledge hammers and away they went knocking down the walls. I'm not sure if anyone had considered whether or not these walls were important in holding up the ceiling but when the walls came down the ceiling seemed to be holding its own. You see this really shitty picture? No, your eyes are all right.
I took a photo with my digital camera of a photo in my photo album. But Bob is that guy all the way on the right side with the yellow shirt and blue jean overalls and the white painter's cap holding a plate of cake in his hands. And that's me right beside him in the red shirt. As I said, shitty image.
So, once we got the floor clear of debris we had ourselves a huge room with about seven garage bay doors. Perfect for an assembly room. Now it was time to get to work and make these boats. You see, as Henry Ford knows, once you create an assembly line you really start churning out boats…um I mean cars. But this is about boats but I was using Ford's genius with his model T's and…. ah forget it; you know what I mean.
So once that assembly room was organized that was when we really started to look less as a bunch of Moonies screwing around with the idea of building Father Moon's boats and more like a boat factory.
One day not to long after we got the assembly room going guess who decides to pay us a visit but Father… well I mean Reverend Moon. Okay well to you reading this he's Reverend Moon but to us back then and to members in the Unification Church today he's referred affectionately as Father. You Catholics can relate to that, right? You call your pastor Father. Well, so did we. But going back to my first article, according to the Divine Principle, God must send the Messiah to Earth again on the foundation that Christians have laid to prepare for him.
And because of their limited understanding of who Jesus is, Unification Church members know that the Messiah comes this time to be wed to a bride and for the two of them to create a true family and become True Parents. True Parents is what we called Reverend and Mrs. Moon. But when we met them in a public or a private setting we addressed them as either Father or Mother. You see, it's as simple as that.
So Father came to visit us one day. That's him up above pictured next to the hull sizing it up and seeing if it matches the specifications which he originally designed the boat with. He was an engineer by trade in Korea, you know. So we were told that his limousine was parked on the side of the building where the front entrance was. So Father comes through the door and what's the first thing he does. We all call out to him, "Hello Father!" in our cheery and exuberant expressions of filial piety and devotion. What is his response. He heads right to the bathroom off to the right.
What, Messiahs don't need to pee? Well, that's what some of us thought for a second or two as our welcoming cries out to him went unanswered until he emerged from the latrine. Okay, so Reverend Moon does go to the bathroom.
So after Reverend Moon pees, we all went over to the assembly room. This was the first time I had ever seen him up close and personal. So as I was with others in the assembly room crowding around Reverend Moon, Henry Masters, the guy who engineered the design Reverend Moon had to improve the Boston Whaler by Maco, was showing him the outboard engine that would power all of the Good Goes. But as I said, this was the first time that I had ever been so close to Reverend Moon, Father, The Messiah. I mean, how many times have you, reading this, been with a Messiah? So I didn't want to hang around outside all of these other guys who had managed to rush way ahead of Reverend Moon's entourage so that they could get real close to him. So I wedged and pushed and shoved my way closer and closer to Reverend Moon. Then I got so close to him that I was literally rubbing elbows with him.
Then, you know what I saw? On Reverend Moon's left hand and index finger was a Band-Aid. Whoa! You mean, the Messiah bleeds too? You mean he's not impervious to pain like Superman? Think man, think; Jesus was nailed up on the cross. Of course Messiah's bleed.
Well, after that revelation I think I pretty much came down to Earth about what a Messiah is and isn't. Then he spoke to us for about an hour about these boats that we were in the process of building. Then all during that hot, humid, New York City summer we kept working hard at the E-Sun Building, as it had been known up until then trying our damndest to make that goal of 150 boats. I think all together we made about seven boats by the deadline of July 1st. That was pretty impressive. And what's more, they worked.
And that's what we kept doing on into the fall and winter and through 1981 and 1982. But come 1982 something else started happening in the Unification Church that hadn't happened for over seven years. There was a wedding planned and in my next article I'm going to talk about the most incredible wedding you've ever seen.